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Month: May 2024

Health Considerations for Men Over 70: A Guide to Aging Well

Health Considerations for Men Over 70: A Guide to Aging Well

As men transition into their seventies and beyond, prioritising health becomes increasingly vital for maintaining a high quality of life. With age comes a unique set of challenges and considerations, ranging from physical changes to the management of chronic conditions. 

In this article, we look at some of the key health considerations that men over 70 should keep in mind to navigate the ageing process with grace and vitality. From proactive measures such as regular check-ups and exercise to addressing specific health concerns like bone health and mental well-being, this article aims to empower older men with the knowledge and tools they need to thrive in their later years. 

By adopting a proactive approach to health and wellness, men can embrace ageing as a time of opportunity for continued growth, vitality, and fulfilment.

 

Regular Medical Check-ups

Routine health check-ups are crucial for early detection and management of age-related conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.

Recent research suggests that approximately 75% of Australian men are still likely to avoid visiting the GP when they have a health concern. This apparent invincibility, or perhaps apathy, surrounding men’s health is pointed to as a major factor in why men live shorter lives than women.

 

Physical Activity and a Balanced Diet

Regular exercise is essential for maintaining muscle strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health, even in men over 70 who may also have complicating factors due to their age. 

Activities like walking, swimming, or gentle yoga can be beneficial and should be discussed with a GP to ensure they are done safely and do not affect any other health risk factors.

In terms of healthy eating, a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats can help prevent chronic diseases and maintain overall health, as is the case at all ages. 

 

Bone Health

Older men (and women to a greater extent) are at increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterised by weakened or brittle bones where bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily. It’s therefore very important for older men to ensure an adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D and engage in weight-bearing exercises to maintain bone density.

If you are over 70 years old or at risk of osteoporosis, your doctor might suggest a bone density scan (DXA), which checks the health of your bones.Bone density screenings, typically performed through a DXA scan, assess bone strength and help identify individuals at risk of fractures. 

Lifestyle modifications and early intervention can mitigate the progression of osteoporosis, emphasising the importance of regular bone density testing.

 

Mental Health

 

Social connections, mental stimulation, and activities that promote cognitive health, such as puzzles or learning new skills, are important for maintaining mental well-being. Engaging in social interactions helps to reduce feelings of loneliness and stress, while participating in mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzles, reading, or learning new skills, can enhance cognitive function and delay the onset of cognitive decline. 

As mentioned, regular physical activity, sufficient sleep, and a balanced diet also significantly contribute to mental health by improving mood and overall emotional resilience. To support your mental health, it’s important to create a balanced routine that includes social activities, mental challenges, and self-care practices.

 

Medication Management

Older adults often take multiple medications, which can interact and cause side effects. Regular review of medications with a healthcare provider is important to ensure they are necessary and safe.

 

Sleep

Adequate sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being. Older adults may experience changes in sleep patterns, so establishing a regular sleep schedule and creating a conducive sleep environment is important.

The Sleep Health Foundation recommends 7-8 for older adults (65 and over). Whilst these hours are recommended, older adults who are receiving slightly more or less may still be achieving healthy and adequate sleep. It just depends on each individual’s specific needs.

In any case, aim for quality sleep each night (based on your own needs) to allow your body to repair and rejuvenate itself. Poor sleep has been linked to numerous health issues, including obesity, heart disease, and mental health disorders.

 

Vision and Hearing

Regular vision and hearing tests can detect age-related changes and help prevent accidents or complications associated with impaired vision or hearing.

Fall Prevention

Falls are a leading cause of injury in older adults. 

Australian and international studies have identified that approximately one in three people aged 65 years and over fall each year, with 10 per cent having multiple falls and more than 30 per cent experiencing injuries requiring medical attention. The rates of falls and associated injuries are higher for older people in hospital settings and residential care.

Removing hazards from the home, using assistive devices if necessary, and staying physically active can help reduce the risk of falls.

 

End-of-Life Planning

While not a pleasant topic, older adults should consider their wishes regarding end-of-life care and communicate them to their loved ones. This may include decisions about advance directives, living wills, and powers of attorney for healthcare.

 

Conclusion

Ageing is a natural part of life, and with the right approach, men over 70 can enjoy fulfilling and active lifestyles well into their later years. By prioritising regular health check-ups, maintaining an active lifestyle, and paying attention to diet and mental well-being, older men can optimise their health and vitality. It’s never too late to make positive changes to support overall well-being, and by staying informed and proactive, men can navigate the ageing process with confidence and resilience. 

To assist you in this journey, consider scheduling regular health screenings with Healthscreen. Our specialised services cater specifically to the needs of older adults, ensuring you receive comprehensive care tailored to enhance your quality of life. Embrace ageing not as a barrier but as an opportunity to enjoy new experiences, cultivate meaningful connections, and continue to pursue passions and interests. You can book your appointment with Healthscreen today and take a decisive step towards a healthier, more vibrant future.






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The Importance of Women's Health Checks: Prioritising Wellness at Every Stage

The Importance of Women's Health Checks: Prioritising Wellness at Every Stage

Introduction

Women’s health requires consistent care and attention. From reproductive health to cardiovascular wellness, staying proactive with regular health checks is crucial for maintaining overall well-being. 

 

Despite the advancements in medical science, many women still neglect routine screenings, often due to busy schedules or misinformation. On a positive note (or negative depending on how you look at it) studies seem to suggest that women are better at adhering to routine check-ups and screenings than men are. Give yourself a pat on the back, ladies!

Understanding the significance of these health checks is pivotal in preventing diseases, detecting conditions early, and promoting a healthier lifestyle.

 

Here are some of the most crucial routine screenings and exams women need to be undertaking on a regular basis to ensure they are properly managing and looking after their health:

 

Comprehensive Annual Gynaecologist Exams

An annual visit to the gynaecologist is a cornerstone of women’s health. During these appointments, healthcare providers conduct pelvic exams, pap smears, and breast exams. These health screenings are essential for detecting cervical abnormalities, breast lumps, and other reproductive health issues. 

 

Additionally, discussions about contraception, sexual health, and menopause management often take place during these visits, empowering women to make informed decisions about their bodies.

 

Mammograms

Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers affecting women worldwide.

Mammograms, X-ray images of the breast tissue, are recommended regularly for women over the age of 40, or earlier if there is a family history of breast cancer. Early detection through mammography significantly increases the chances of successful treatment and survival. Women are encouraged to discuss the frequency of mammograms with their healthcare providers based on individual risk factors and guidelines.

 

Bone Density Screening

 

Osteoporosis, a condition characterised by weakened or brittle bones, predominantly affects women, particularly after menopause. Bones become less dense, lose strength and break more easily. Menopause can increase your risk of osteoporosis.

If you are over 70 years old or at risk of osteoporosis, your doctor might suggest a bone density scan (DXA), which checks the health of your bones.

Bone density screenings, typically performed through a DXA scan, assess bone strength and help identify individuals at risk of fractures. Lifestyle modifications and early intervention can mitigate the progression of osteoporosis, emphasising the importance of regular bone density testing, especially for postmenopausal women.

 

Skin Examinations

Regular skin checks can help detect skin cancer early. Given Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world this routine examination should be at the top of anyone’s list for routine health screenings. 

About 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. Non-melanoma (keratinocyte) skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.

Women, particularly in Australia, should examine their skin regularly for any new moles or changes in existing moles and report any concerns to their healthcare provider.

 

Cardiovascular Assessments

Heart disease is often perceived as a predominantly male health issue, but it is the leading cause of death among women in Australia (and globally). You might not know if you are developing heart disease, so regular check-ups are important.

Regular heart health checks (every two years) are recommended if you are aged 45 years and over (or in your 30s if you are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island descent). Your doctor will check your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They will also discuss your medical and family history, diet and exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption and weight, which may show risks for heart disease.

Routine blood pressure checks, cholesterol screenings, and assessments of other cardiovascular risk factors are essential for early detection and prevention. 

Women should work closely with their healthcare providers to develop personalised heart-healthy strategies, encompassing dietary changes, exercise routines, and stress management techniques.

 

Screenings for Reproductive Health

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can have serious consequences if left untreated, including infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. Regular STI screenings, including tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and syphilis, are vital for sexually active women, particularly those with multiple partners. 


Additionally, screenings for human papillomavirus (HPV) are crucial for detecting cervical cancer risk early, often through Pap smears or HPV DNA tests, as discussed earlier.


Colonoscopies

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in women. If detected early, 90% of cases can be treated successfully.

Under the Australian National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, women aged between 50 years old and 74 years old are sent a free, simple test. This tests for blood in your stool, which may be a sign of bowel cancer. This test can be taken at home and the samples can then be posted off for testing. Results are then received within two weeks. It is recommended that this test be done every two years.


If you get a positive result, your doctor may recommend a follow-up test such as a colonoscopy. Regular colonoscopies, typically recommended starting at age 50 or earlier for individuals with a family history of the disease, play a pivotal role in detecting precancerous polyps or early-stage cancer. 

By identifying and removing abnormal growths in the colon, colonoscopies can significantly reduce the risk of developing colorectal cancer.


Conclusion


Prioritising women’s health checks is not just about detecting diseases; it’s about empowering women to take control of their well-being and lead fulfilling lives. By fostering open communication with healthcare providers, staying informed about recommended screenings, and committing to regular check-ups, women can proactively safeguard their health at every stage of life. Remember, investing in preventive care today can yield invaluable benefits for a lifetime of wellness. 

To support this commitment to health, visit Healthscreen. Our services are tailored to meet your individual health needs, providing personalised health assessments that guide you toward a healthier future. Schedule your appointment with Healthscreen today—because your health is your most valuable asset.



 

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9 Crucial Health Checks for Men

9 Crucial Health Checks for Men

Routine health checks are essential for maintaining good health and catching any potential issues early on. For men, here are some important health checks to consider:

 

1. Blood Pressure Screening

 

High blood pressure often has no symptoms but can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. 

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) men typically have higher blood pressure and develop cardiovascular diseases earlier than women. The sexual dimorphism in blood pressure begins at puberty and persists through adult age. 

Regular blood pressure checks are therefore crucial, especially for men as they age.

 

 

2. Cholesterol and Blood Glucose Levels

High cholesterol levels increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Regular screening helps monitor cholesterol levels and allows for interventions if levels are too high.

High blood sugar levels can lead to various health complications if left untreated. Screening for diabetes or pre-diabetes is important, particularly for men with a family history of diabetes or those who are overweight.

 

3. Prostate Health

Starting at age 50, men should discuss with their healthcare provider whether they need prostate cancer screening, including a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and/or a digital rectal exam (DRE). For those with a family history of prostate cancer or other risk factors, screening may begin earlier.

Around 25 per cent of men aged 55 years and over have a prostate condition. This increases to 50 per cent by the age of 70 years. Early stages of prostate disease may have no symptoms so it is important to carry out routine health checks as advised by your general practitioner.

If you are a man and you are in your 50s or 60s, talk to your doctor about whether you need to have your prostate gland checked and, if so, how often. If you have a family history of prostate disease (or if you have particular concerns), talk to your doctor earlier about when prostate checks might be suitable for you.

 

4. Testicular Self-Examination


Regular self-examination of the testicles can help detect lumps or abnormalities that may indicate testicular cancer. Men should be familiar with the normal size, shape, and feel of their testicles and report any changes to their healthcare provider.


According to Better Health Victoria, around 200 Victorian men are diagnosed with testicular cancer every year, most commonly between the age of 20 and 50. This rare cancer has a high cure rate and is more easily treated in its earlier stages. They recommend that if you recognise changes in your testicles, see a doctor as soon as possible. It is a good idea to perform a self-examination even if you have had testicular cancer or are currently being treated for it, because cancer may develop in the other testicle.

 

5. Colorectal Cancer Screening

Beginning at age 50, men should undergo regular screening for colorectal cancer, which may include colonoscopy, faecal occult blood test (FOBT), or sigmoidoscopy. 

Individuals with a family history of colorectal cancer or certain risk factors may need to start screening earlier.


6. Skin Examinations


Regular skin checks can help detect skin cancer early. Given Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world this routine examination should be at the top of anyone’s list for health screenings.  About 2 out of 3 Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. Non-melanoma (keratinocyte) skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia.

Men, particularly in Australia, should examine their skin regularly for any new moles or changes in existing moles and report any concerns to their healthcare provider.

 

7. Dental Check-ups

Regular dental examinations and cleanings are important for oral health and can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems. Like other major health factors, sex and gender related health disparities in oral health remain an under-appreciated and often overlooked aspect of well-being. 


A 2021 study found that “. They experience higher rates of periodontal disease, oral cancer and dental trauma resulting from a combination of biologic, social and gender related factors.”


Men need to make a concerted effort to integrate dental check ups into their annual and bi-annual screening roster.


8. Eye Examinations


Regular eye exams can help detect vision problems, glaucoma, and other eye conditions early, allowing for prompt treatment and prevention of vision loss.


In Australia, eye tests can typically be carried for free at bulk billed clinics or optometrists and treatment of eye conditions and/or the purchase of prescription glasses will typically be covered under Medicare or private medical insurance.

 

 

9. Mental Health Screening

Mental health is just as important as physical health. Men should be aware of their mental well-being and seek help if experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns.


Better Health Victoria reports that “on average, one in 8 men will have depression and one in 5 men will experience anxiety at some stage of their lives”. While men are apparently less likely to experience anxiety and depression than women, they are also less likely to talk about it. This increases the risk of their anxiety or depression going unrecognised and untreated which is a high risk factor for suicide. 


Consequently, there are about 3,000 suicides each year in Australia and approximately 75% of those who take their lives are men. It’s important to remember that anxiety and depression are conditions, not weaknesses, and effective treatments are available.


Prioritise mental health by managing stress, seeking support when needed, and practising self-care activities. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so it’s essential to address any concerns and seek help if necessary.

 

Conclusion

It’s important to note that individual health needs may vary, and men should discuss their specific health risks and screening recommendations with their healthcare provider. 


Additionally, maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and stress management can contribute to overall well-being and reduce the risk of many health problems.


For those looking to take proactive steps in managing their health, Healthscreen offers comprehensive screening services that adapt to your personal health requirements. Make your health a priority today—schedule a consultation with Healthscreen to ensure you are on the best path to long-term wellness.

 

 

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